There are many options for today's homeowners when choosing exterior sidings.

One of the more popular sidings is vinyl. Vinyl is durable and inexpensive when compared to the others, but it won?t last as long ? 15 to 20 years is about the norm. It is not known for its insulating properties.

Wood siding leaves a beautiful finish. It is available as cedar shingles (commonly known as shakes) or in vertical and horizontal planks. The use of wood is restricted in some areas because of its high flammability rating. It can be painted or stained. Wood is in a medium high price range and will last for many years if it is maintained properly.

Fiber Cement
Fiber cement offers the look and feel of a high quality wood siding but is more durable, especially in hot and humid climates. It has been praised for its excellent weather and termite resistance. It will not mildew or crack if it has been installed properly. Fiber cement carries impressive manufacturers warranties ? some as long as 50 years!

Metal Siding
Metal siding includes aluminum and steel. Metal sidings are not good insulators. They tend to easily absorb air temperature and are sometimes sun faded and chalky in appearance. Metals are inexpensive when compared to many other sidings. It can be recycled which gives it a ?green? category by recyclability standards. Both are fire and termite resistant and can be installed relatively easily by the do-it-yourselfer. Seamless steel, however, is bulky and best left to the professionals.

Brick and Stone
Brick and stone is one of the most durable sidings available. They are known to last the life of the structure and are fire and bug resistant. Stone and brick are extremely heavy and should only be installed by a qualified installer known as a mason. Natural stone is in the high end price range. Brick and stone veneers are increasing in popularity. They cost approximately half that of the real thing but look nearly identical.

A stucco finish gives a stunning southwestern look. Stucco is made of cement, sand, lime, and water. Three coats of the mixture are applied over a lath base and are then coated with an acrylic-polymer finish. Synthetic stucco is made from layering a foam insulation board, fiberglass mesh, and a top coat. As a result, both are very good insulators. Stucco is in a medium price range, lasts for many years when maintained properly, can be painted or tinted and should be installed by a professional.